(This is a multipart series about how to evaluate and select the right BI tool for you and your team. To see the entire outline of the series and a framework for how to evaluate a BI tool, see How to Select the Best BI Tool for You.)
Like shopping for a car or a new electronic device, there are likely a lot of features that the average Jane won’t need. We aim to cover the breadth of features that the top tools and analysts in the market are talking about.
It’s important to focus on what’s right for you and your use case. We recommend buyers be careful to not let features creep onto their “Want to have” or “Mission critical” lists when doing your research. It can be really easy to learn about a cool feature and then think about all the cool and creative ways you could use it. Curiosity and creativity is to be human.
Remember: You started shopping to fill a specific need. Keep that front and center as you research while getting educated on other cool features and how you may use them after your initial set of requirements are delivered.
Here are the top mobile BI features of BI tools to consider as part of your evaluation.
1. Mobile Collaboration
The solution offers team collaboration features like drawing freehand shapes or adding comments and sharing the annotated mobile screens.
2. Mobile Dashboards and Reports
The solution offers mobile-optimized dashboards and reports with interactive and drill down/up capabilities.
3. Mobile Geospatial Analysis
The solution supports geospatial analysis on mobile devices. It thus enables easy navigation, analysis, and visualization of data at different levels of aggregation like country, state, county, zip code, and even inside buildings.
4. Native Mobile Apps
The solution offers native mobile apps on Android or iOS platforms.
This is something we have seen for a long time, but we’ve yet to see an acceptable user experience on any of them. If you have a good example, please let us know. We’d love to have a look!
5. Offline Mode
The solution offers mobile apps that incorporate sophisticated caching algorithms to enable user interaction, even in areas with limited or no network availability.
When we think of Mobile BI, it includes working on mobile devices, but also being able to work with your data while offline. While that’s increasingly rare to not have connectivity, it happens and it’s really frustrating and disruptive to Flow when you can only use your analytics when you’re online.
This is probably the most practical use case we can think of for mobile BI but introduces myriad of new issues around data accuracy (freshness) and security since you’ve just copied a set of your data onto a physical device that can get damaged, lost or stolen.
6. Push Notifications and Alerts
The solution delivers alerts through the mobile device’s native push notification features, such as badges and banner notifications, enabling users to take immediate, corrective actions.
7. Responsive Web Design
The solution renders seamlessly on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes.
8. Scan Machine Readable Codes
The solution's mobile app provides the capability to read machine-readable codes such as barcodes, QR codes, etc., which can be used in the application, for example, to filter data or display the details related to the barcode.
Follow the links above to read more about core functional requirements of a BI and analytics tool.
Did we miss something? Drop us a line and we’ll see about getting it added.
Need help with your BI tool selection? Book a call with us and we’ll see if we can help. If we can point you in the right direction with a short phone call, great! If you’d like to hire us to do an evaluation and selection for you, contact us and we’ll make a selection together.